Problems Abound
In the era of high stakes testing and increased school accountability, schools are struggling to connect the long hours and hard work of staff into increased student performance and test scores. This stems from a disconnect between students and the ideas and practices of an outdated factory school system. School age generations are bombarded by information 24/7 through their connected devices, but are in a dead-zone when it comes to school. What are we to do with education?

The solution
Through research, practice, and development with colleagues, blended learning through course websites is the solution. Course websites are a student-friendly digital reflection of a teacher’s classroom, curriculum, and practices. Teachers can construct course websites to include personalized lessons, activities, assignments, extensions, and adaptions/modifications for their students.

It’s no lie, implementing course websites will be an incredible organizational change for any school district. It will impact the entire staff, including administrators, teachers, leaders, and more. The process for implementation will be continuous and ongoing and need to encompass all levels of teaching experience and digital literacy. However, through this implementation outline we strongly believe we can successfully impact our organization and increase student performance and accountability.

Here is our message for course websites:

Why
We can create a brighter tomorrow by better teaching the students of today.

How
We will increase student confidence and success through authentic learning projects that prepare students for the world of tomorrow while bettering students’ school experience today.

What
We tactfully incorporate course websites into instruction to feature authentic learning, differentiated instruction, encouragement through feedback, and reflection through discussions.

To view a promotional video on course websites, follow the video link below.

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 8.37.54 PM

 

Goal
Our goal is to have most Dickinson ISD (or your school district) teachers use a course website to incorporate blended learning into their classroom by June 1, 2020 (a 3+ year plan to change).

In order to accomplish this we will need to to establish a growth mindset and develop teaching philosophies that reflect the COVA model. These ideas will be present throughout our implementation process and in our classrooms. The growth mindset is reflected in our staff’s continued professional learning and in our students relentless effort towards continual learning – in the classroom and at home. The COVA model is reflected in our planning and classroom teachings: as this is where students are offered Choice, take Ownership of their work, express their Voice, and are held Accountable for learning requirements.

Implementation
When designing a plan to implement a massive organizational change, such as the adoption of blended learning strategies through course websites, it is no easy feat. It takes careful planning and consideration for organizational change to take hold and have its intended positive effects. To begin the process of implementation, it is essential to plan with the end result in mind. For us, this is having most of our district’s teachers using course websites to deliver blended learning strategies. To accomplish this we will need to start with a backwards design planning model such as the 3 Column Table design with an overarching goal. View our 3 Column Table for Implementing Course Websites here.

After completing a backwards planning design model, we decided to take a macro-approach to planning to show the bigger pictures, or stages, of our implementation process. The image below represents our district’s innovation plan at a glance. We found it important to segment the stages of our plan so that when the whirlwind of day-to-day activities weighs down on us, we will still have a clear direction of where we are headed with our implementation plan.

 

District Innovation Plan (1)

 

Our next step was to consider how our unique work culture and environment would be affected by implementing course websites and blended learning strategies. As it stood our district had already had some experience with blended learning strategies. We had organized several blended learning staff developments, but found teachers were hesitant to attend and resisted changes to their traditional classroom approach. To reverse these tendencies, we decided to utilize proven social influence models, such as the 4DX and 6 Sources of Influence. Using the 4DX and 6 Sources of Influence models, we analyzed our work environment to find areas of resistance and how we could offset that resistance. In short, we were being proactive in addressing the problems that were sure to come throughout the implementation process, thereby making this process essential for being successful in the implementation process of organizational change. To view the 6 Sources of Influence and 4DX influence models, click the 4DX model and examine the 6 Sources of Influence image below.

4DX Model

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 12.42.43 PM

6 Sources of Influence Model

Six Sources of Influence (1)

Finally, it’s time to put all of our implementation planning together. After developing methods for how our environment and work culture will need to be changed, we need to develop a schedule for implementing course websites and send an inspirational message to our staff to explain why we are making the change. Click the picture below to view our inspirational message for implementing course websites and click here to view our  detailed implementation outline.

What could be

Additional Resources
To further help with the implementation process, here are some other key components that were helpful when implementing organizational change.

Letter of Proposal – A letter to our superintendent to implement blended learning through course websites.

Literature Review – Analyzing past, present, and future trends in education helps provide support in implementing blended learning through course websites.

Initial Training – Example of what the first training will be like when implementing course websites

Closing Remarks

The implementation process presented here is an ongoing process and is not the sole solution. We are continually striving to develop new ideas and strategies to increase the flexibility and ease of the process of implementing organizational change. To help our efforts, please share your experiences of using blended learning strategies and content/grade level specific course websites. Together we can create best practices to give our world a brighter tomorrow.

 

Sources:

Bates, Tony. (December 14, 2015). Dr. Tony Bates on Building Effective Learning Environments. Chang School.

Duckworth, Angela. (May 9, 2013). Grit: the power of passion and perseverance. Found athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8&feature=youtu.be.

Dweck, Carol S. (2008) Mindset: the new psychology of success New York : Ballantine Books.

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf

Harapnuik, Dwayne. (April 5, 2013). Fixed vs growth mindset = print vs digital information age. Found at: http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=3627.

Harapnuik, Dwayne. (January 28, 2016). 4 effective ways to find and test vital behaviors. Found at http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=6253. Accessed 7/28/2017.

Kotter, John. (August 15, 2013). Leading change: establish a sense of urgency. Found at https://youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI. Accessed 7/21/17.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals.

Sinek, Simon. (September 29, 2013). Start with why. Found at https://youtu.be/sioZd3AxmnE. Accessed on 7/21/17.

Thomas, Douglas, Brown, J. (2011) A new culture of learning: cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.  [Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace?]

Wiggins, Grant & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA : Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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